TeleNav Holding Its Own vs. Google Navigation

I would have thought that free Google Navigation, which is very good, along with free navigation from Nokia might have killed all the subscription-based providers out there. But TeleNav seems to be holding its own; part of that is its enterprise and white-label businesses. The company provides navigation for AT&T, Sprint and other carriers outside the US. Beyond this the company is also being very inventive and expansive in its thinking about its product.

The company’s latest financial release — it went public last year — shows healthy growth:

  • Revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 grew 19 percent over the second quarter of fiscal 2010 to $48.0 million.
  • Average monthly paying end users for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 increased 54 percent over the second quarter of fiscal 2010 to 19.6 million.
  • Revenue from automotive, enterprise LBS, mobile advertising and commerce and premium LBS was seven percent of total revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2011,up from six percent of total revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
  • Cash generated from operations for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 was $28.5 million.

Now the TeleNav is putting out a Verizon version of its consumer-facing TeleNav GPS app for the iPhone. It costs $2.99 per month or $21.99 per year. This is cheaper than both the AT&T iPhone and Android versions of the app. It has lots of useful features:

  • Spoken Turn-by-Turn Directions with Street Names
  • 2D and 3D Moving Maps
  • Automatic Reroute 
  • Nighttime Optimized Navigation 
  • iOS Multitasking Support
  • More Than 22 Million Local Listings in the U.S. 

This is a good solution for iPhone users who don’t have access to Google Navigation. In addition to turn-by-turn directions, the app can be used expansively as a local search tool and business finder (it has voice search as well). TeleNav is also integrating local ads from xAD, AT&Ti and others.

One of the “coolest” aspects of the product is “Shake-to-Go.” Shake-to-go “allows users to simply shake their iPhone 4 while using TeleNav GPS and they will automatically be routed” to their home location. 

I’ve had an Android version of the app for a number of weeks. I’ve used it and liked it, although I have to admit the seamless integration of Google Maps and Navigation into Android create a big barrier to the use of any other mapping platform or tool. 

TeleNav also introduced APIs late last year to allow developers to integrate navigation into any app. Advertisers can also do this using the API. In other words one could ad a “drive there” or “get directions” button on any display ad in mobile. That’s pretty interesting and I think not widely known. 

Some time ago I met with the markeing people at TeleNav and was struck by how broadly and creatively they’re thinking about the product, the challenge of free navigation and expanding their apps’ boundaries well beyond traditional GPS. 

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